Virginia has been awarded $3.2 million from the federal government to fund defense initiatives, including a maritime industrial base initiative and a company that provides cyber security training to small defense companies.
The grant provides about $1.5 million to the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem, which is an initiative designed to improve shipbuilding in Southeast Virginia and improve the workforce and maritime training pipelines. The initiative is managed by Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Retired Vice Admiral David Architzel, the chairman of the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem, said in a news release that the Navy needs ships built and repaired and that Southeast Virginia is the best location for these efforts.
Another $1.4 million was provided to GENEDGE Alliance. This company provides cyber security training and other assistance to small defense companies to help them comply with federal rules.
“Cyber threats are real and growing,” Wayne Stilwell, chairman of the Board of Trustees of GENEDGE, said in the news release. “This grant will allow us to increase the cyber security capabilities for many small defense companies that are essential national security assets in critical supply chains.”
Gov. Ralph Northam said in the news release that Virginia is working to become the most military-friendly state in the country. The commonwealth ranks second in the country for direct defense spending at $46.2 billion, second in contracting spending at $30.5 billion and first in defense personnel spending at $15.7 billion. Defense makes up about nine percent of the state’s GDP.
“Our defense industrial base is vital to the nation’s long-term national security strategy, and we must ensure our workforce partners are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Northam said. “This funding will support transformational changes and shape the way we protect critical infrastructure and train workers in key industries.”
The Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment awarded the grant to Virginia through the industry resilience program.